Prior to the start of this year’s free agency period, Donald Parham is was the only tight end on the roster for the Chargers. With the future still unknown, fans began to get excited about the prospects of Parham potentially entering the 2021 season as TE1. However, the Bolts filled out the rest of the tight end room by signing veteran Jared Cook and re-signing Stephen Anderson.
This doesn’t automatically mean Parham won’t see an increase in playing time from a year ago, but it does certainly limit his ceiling in 2021.
Due to these events, Parham was actually pegged as one of the biggest “losers” from this year’s free agency period by The Athletic’s Eric Moody. Here’s what he had to say about Parham’s situation:
“There was a lot of excitement surrounding Parham once Hunter Henry signed with the Patriots. The 6’8″, 23-year-old tight end caught three touchdowns last season in a very limited role for the Chargers. Parham runs a 4.6 40 and has a 36-inch vertical leap. The Chargers, unfortunately, pumped the breaks on the hype train when they signed free-agent tight end Jared Cook. Perhaps Los Angeles isn’t ready to make Parham a full-time player.”
Parham caught 10 of his 20 targets last year for 159 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He was used mainly once the Chargers got near or inside the 20-yard line where his true 6’8 height was extremely helpful against opposing linebackers. In his second year with the Bolts, I expect him to succeed in the same manner but he’ll hopefully get the opportunity to expand his role as a play-maker in all areas of the field in this upcoming season.
To be fair, despite the success in the XFL, Parham was still likely a year or two away from being a well-rounded tight end worthy of a starting spot. The potential and upside is very apparent with him, but a new coach was not likely going to rely on what’s essentially a second-year developmental player at an important position in today’s NFL.